Who Qualifies for a $1,400 Stimulus Check? Eligibility Rules Explained
UPDATE: The American Rescue Plan became law on Thursday, earlier than expected. Stimulus payments will start being direct deposited in people's bank accounts "as early as this weekend," according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
The $1,400 stimulus checks are coming.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package 220 to 211 on Wednesday, following the Senate's lead to all but cement a third round of direct payments to millions of Americans. Though it still needs Biden's signature, the legislation provides for stimulus checks in the amount of $1,400 per person. The president is expected to approve the bill on Friday, and the IRS is ready to distribute most of the aid in the next few weeks.
This is a long time coming, and the details of who makes the cutoff for receiving an Economic Impact Payment have changed several times. Here's what you need to know about eligibility.
Who gets a third stimulus check? Who doesn't?
If you're an American citizen or what's officially called a "resident alien," you're probably eligible for the third stimulus payment. This includes incarcerated people and those living abroad, but not taxpayers above a certain income level. (More on that later.)
In addition, the American Rescue Plan says people will receive "$1,400 multiplied by the number of dependents of the taxpayer for such taxable year." Unlike with the first and second round of payments, there's no age limit for the third stimulus check. College students and adult dependents qualify for the payments, but most won't receive the deposits themselves. Dependent stimulus checks will be sent to the taxpayer who claims them on their returns.
Basically, anyone who's not a nonresident alien or someone else's dependent is eligible to get the direct payment. Deceased people and those without valid Social Security numbers for employment didn't qualify for previous EIPs, either.
Income limits for the third stimulus check
This was a hot topic of debate in Congress, but the income thresholds were ultimately left unchanged for the third stimulus.
If you're a single taxpayer with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000 or less, you'll get the full amount of $1,400. Ditto if you're a head of household with an AGI of $112,500 or less. If you're married filing jointly with an AGI of $150,000 or less, you'll get $2,800.
Over those amounts, the checks decrease, eventually hitting zero.
There are different caps this time around; the third stimulus check phases out faster than previous ones did. People who earn over $80,000, married couples who earn over $160,000 and heads of households who earn over $120,000 will not receive any money, according to The New York Times.
The IRS will use income tax data to calculate how big your stimulus check will be. If you've filed your 2020 return already, it'll take your AGI from that. Otherwise, it'll default to the information on your 2019 return.
I think I'm eligible. What do I need to do to get a stimulus check?
Nothing. The first two rounds were issued automatically, and the third will be, as well.
The fastest way to get your stimulus check is via direct deposit. Without that information, the IRS will mail you either a debit card or paper check. (Unfortunately, there's no way for you to choose or change the delivery method.) You can track your money using the IRS Get My Payment tool.
If you believe you qualify for the third stimulus check but don't receive one — or you believe it's in the wrong amount — there are options. Either the IRS will send you the money you deserve after you file your 2020 taxes or you'll be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2021 return, according to The Wall Street Journal.
More from Money:
$1,400 Checks and More: 6 Ways You May Benefit From the New Stimulus Package
Stimulus Checks and Taxes: What You Need to Know About Claiming Missing Money and Getting a Bigger Refund
Where's My Stimulus Check? Here's Why You Didn't Get Your Payment Yet or Can't Track Its Status